My First Ever Impressions with Android

I’ve been tasked with developing basic troubleshooting tips and tricks for mobile devices by my employer.IMG_1747

Now, outside of two short and awful Android experiences, I’ve had no real world use with one of these devices but clearly I was going to have to become a pro with them very quickly.

So I ordered a Samsung Tab S2 tablet.  Why?  Well first off because it currently runs Android Marshmallow (Android’s 2nd most adopted OS to date), it will have the ability to upgrade to Nougat (Andriod’s latest but not yet adopted OS), and lastly it won’t have much of the garbage software that carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile install on Android devices before being sold.

First Impressions

Where the hell is the back arrow?  Using the back button located on the lower right hand side of the device is taking a lot getting used to.  With iOS when we need to go back we typically look to the top left hand corner of the app or simply swipe backward.

Why do I need multiple user accounts? (Google and Samsung)  One thing I learned at Apple is, people can’t remember their usernames and or passwords to save their lives.  Upon booting up my new tablet I was prompted to enter my gmail account for the Google Play Store (where you get all your apps) PLUS they wanted me to create a Samsung user name and password separate from my Gmail account.  I’m not exactly sure what they use this for but I’ve been getting prompted every so often to do so, so that I can take advantage of some “Samsung Essential Apps”.  This is very annoying and pops up on my screen regularly.

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Live Widgets are Fantastic.  Apple attempted to use live widgets but decided to put them in hidden places like Notification Center.  Android really allows you to customize your home screen for all of your up to date information.  I really hope Apple finds a non battery draining way to do this.

The Vibrance of the Display.  The “Super AMOLED” display is extremely vibrant.  It oddly does seem to be a magnet for dust and fingerprints though.  I find myself cleaning the screen extremely often.  I almost never have to on my iPad Pro.  Also it seems like many of the third party apps aren’t prepared to use such an available color palette.  Most of the third party apps have a very bland look and feel.

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What was that noise?  I’ve got my notifications set to minimum but I find that the device is almost always beeping about something.  You really don’t know what it is until you pull up your notifications.

Oh I get to nerd out?  Unlike iOS, Android gives you a ton of control over the device.  You can see RAM and CPU usage and how the impact battery life.  This is nice if you’re very tech savvy and want to know those things but don’t have a whole lot of real world use.  There are ways to completely customize this open source device which I haven’t really jumped into just yet.

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User accounts. Being able to have multiple user accounts (locally) seems pretty wonderful.  Our computers have been doing this for decades but mobile device haven’t.  If this device were to be shared with anyone that feature is amazing.

Day to Day Experiences

I found the tablet pretty easy to pick up for most day to day things.  Notification management can be a bit tricky and it LOVES to make noises whenever it can but I’ve just found that putting it in Airplane mode when I’m not using it, solves that issue.  Or does it?

One thing that drives me crazy is when it is in Airplane mode, it treats your notifications like water trying to get through a kinked hose.  We all know what happens when you un-kink that hose.  All the notifications come flying in at once making a horrible long lasting noise of notification awareness.  Even if I’ve addressed these notifications, such as email, from another device.

One big surprise was how well Android plays with Apple’s AirPods.  Apple specifically designed them to work optimally with iOS devices.  Now that doesn’t mean that they don’t play nice at all but it’s a different process.

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To recap how they work with Apple devices, any iOS or Mac with the same Apple ID remembers your AirPods even if they’ve never been connected through traditional pairing processes.  This makes it very easy to switch between devices.

With Android you just need to follow the traditional bluetooth pairing procedures and they work just fine.  I was surprised that the AirPods did not have to be re-paired traditionally with my Apple devices after being paired with my tablet.

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I miss the easily addable accessories such as my magnetic cover for my iPad and my keyboard cover that uses Apple’s smart connector.  I never realized how important they were to me and since I’d rather not carry around a separate keyboard this device is basically unusable for any long amounts of typing.  It seems Samsung is attempting to resolve this with the Tab S3.

Overall

I’m surprised how much I enjoy this device.  Being someone who has never ventured outside of iOS I was worried of the potential for culture shock.

The Samsung Tab S2 is extremely thin and light but I’m constantly afraid I’m going to scratch it.  I guess I’ve learned to trust what Apple devices can withstand as far as physical abuse over the years so this might change.

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I haven’t even really scratched the surface as to what this device can do but I’ll certainly get more technical with it as time goes on.  For anyone considering, maybe take a look into the more affordable devices and see for yourself.

Take it from someone who’s never ventured outside the box until now.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

The Battle of the Unlimited Plans. UPDATED

Let me start off by saying that you need to do some basic research on which carrier is going to be best supported in your area.  There’s no need in saving $10-$20 a month and not be able to make phone calls when you need to.

With that being said, let me take this opportunity to break down all of the new “Unlimited” plans that all major US carriers are providing.

Highlighted in yellow are the best deals and red are the worst deals.

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As you process that here are some things you absolutely need to think about.

  1.  Sprint’s current pricing is “Promotional Pricing” stating that in March 2018 these “Unlimited Plans” pricing and data will change making your 3rd and 4th line $30 each.
  2. T-Mobile’s pricing is a flat rate after taxes and fees.  This is really a nice deal since all the other carriers are going to hit you with $7-10 each month for that. (Pricing reflects using auto-pay)
  3. There is no activation fee if you are already a T-Mobile user. (They charge you for the sim card)

I think it’s absurd that AT&T doesn’t offer a Mobile Hotspot option especially when being the most expensive option.

So if you’re considering changing the plan on your current carrier or switching carriers completely like I did the data is all here.  I can’t remind you enough that you really need to do some homework on coverage in the areas you spend the most.  I know that T-Mobile is very strong in Philadelphia and I’ve had a great experience with it from the areas outside of Philadelphia I spend the most time in.

Feel free to ask any questions down below in the comments field.  And be sure to check out my T-Mobile testimonial coming later this week.

UPDATE!

Wow so in the week that originally posted this blog I had no idea that things were just heating up.  Here are some updates that you need to know about if you’re considering changing your plan or carrier.

AT&T:  Now offering 10Gb of data tethering option with all Unlimited plans. This keeps them competitive with everyone else.

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This is what I LOVE about T-Mobile.  They’re extremely competitive when it comes to having the best to offer their customers.  Starting March 1, 2017, T-Mobile will now offer 3 lines for $100 taxes and fees included!  This $41 cheaper than their previous offerings as seen on the chart above.  So if you or your family need 3 lines you’re landing at just over $33 per line for unlimited data.  Unreal!

So lets recap the best options (remember do your homework on carrier maps) for each lines:

1 Line – Sprint but I don’t feel great about their coverage map or the face that the deal is going to change in 2018.  T-Mobile is most likely going to be the best overall option at $70 flat with a larger data pool and better overall cover.  Plus your taxes and fees are included.

2 Lines – T-Mobile again is going to take his one.

3 Lines – as well because for $100 taxes and fees included T-Mobile is going to offer you 3 lines.  Same as the cost as 2.  Plus it’s $50+ cheaper than Verizon and AT&T.

4 Lines – This is where T-Mobile likes to blur the lines a bit.  They say anything after your 2nd line is “Free” so with that pricing model 3 lines will cost you $100 flat but 4 lines total will cost you $141.  (Same as 3 lines on their pervious plan).

I hate to admit it but this crazy man is doing it right.

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For more information, I recently made the switch to T-Moblie.  You can read all about it here.

Feel free to comment blow with any additional questions.